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HITEC 2007 in Orlando, Fla. Boasts Second Highest Attendance in Conference’s History

  • Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP)
  • 07.06.07
Last week was the second largest HITEC® (Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition and Conference) in the conference’s history, with 5,736 attendees.

Held June 25-28 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla., the exposition and conference had over 300 exhibiting companies, more than 40 education sessions and recognition for hospitality industry professionals.

The trade show included companies showcasing technologies and several special exhibits. New to the trade show this year were the Club Technology Pavilion and HITEC FAVE Awards. Also returning for a second year was GUESTROOM 2010, a futuristic model hotel room that featured 70 new and upcoming technologies.

“HITEC 2007 was an excellent forum to showcase our full range of event technology and hospitality services. Our booth traffic was great and we’re particularly pleased with the level of the attendees,” said Greg Van Dyke, senior vice president of marketing for PSAV® Presentation Services.

Success of the trade show was also evident in the number of exhibitors that have already registered for HITEC 2008 in Austin, Texas, with 77 percent of next year's exhibit hall already sold out.

“HITEC has a high quality of attendees–the decision makers who really matter. HITEC 2007 was the perfect venue to introduce our new ZVOX hospitality series single cabinet audio system. The feedback from attendees has been spectacular and we’ve already signed up for next year’s show,” said Christopher Holman, vice president of business development for ZVOX Audio.

Education sessions opened with Jonathan Tisch, chairman and CEO of Loews Hotels, sharing his personal experiences in guest services, which are featured in his new book, “Chocolates on the Pillow Aren’t Enough.” In his speech Tisch emphasized how it is important for hospitality companies not to lose the personal touch, stating that it is what customers will remember when distinguishing the difference in hotels. He feels that technology is bringing people back together and re-establishing a personal feel to customer service through customer-focused technology. He said, "technology is just the opportunity, but people are the enabler."

The education sessions closed with a lively panel discussion between experts and suppliers discussing I.T. challenges, and moderated by Scot Campbell, vice president of business solutions for MGM Mirage's CityCenter and Richard Siegel, president and publisher of Hospitality Upgrade magazine. On the supplier side, panelists included Sandra Andrews, director of hospitality industry solutions for Microsoft; Tom Giannopoulos, chairman and president/CEO for MICROS Systems; Sean O'Neill, chairman and CEO for Newmarket International; and Tina Stehle, vice president and general manager for Agilysis. On the experts side, panelists included Terry Price, CPA, CHAE, CHTP; Gustaf Schrils, vice president of technology and services for Intercontinental Hotels Group; Michael Schubach, CHTP, vice president of I.T. for Pinehurst Resort; David Sjolander, CHTP, vice president of hotel information systems for Carlson Hospitality Corp.

Other education sessions featured topics such as revenue management, POS systems, guest services, wireless networks and technology trends. HITEC 2007 also provided, for the first time, two education sessions designed by and for suppliers of the hospitality industry.

“HITEC 2007 has put together an awesome combination of technology prophecy, domain strength and people interactions. Hats off to the organizers,” said Stephen Dantos, project director for Hexaware Technologies Ltd.

"Very informative, well organized and professionally run," said attendee Alicia Gordon, controller for Gateway Canyons Resort. "This was the first HFTP event I've attended, and I was very impressed."

Several industry professionals were honored Tuesday morning in the opening session. First, CHTP of the Year Oliver Nihart-Arango, systems specialist for Carlson Companies in Minneapolis, Minn., was presented a plaque for earning the highest score for the Certified Hospitality Technology Professional (CHTP) exam within the last year. Next, attendees honored those that received the Award of Merit, which is presented every five years. Joyce Christmas, William Duncan, Ed Hollinshead, Joseph Marko and William Sullivan were recognized for contributing a significant innovation or breakthrough that established a path for others in the hospitality industry.

Finally, John Springer-Miller was inducted into the HFTP International Hospitality Technology Hall of Fame. He was recognized for his influence on the industry by creating SMS¦Host, a property management system that integrates guest services.

For those who were not able to attend HITEC 2007, information on HITEC 2007 exhibitors, pictures and the technologies featured in GUESTROOM 2010 are featured on the HITEC Web site. If you didn't make it this year, start making plans to attend next year's HITEC at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, Texas, June 16-29, 2008.

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